Hornets’ coach prepares to face former school

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dallas County head coach Willie Moore is always focused on his team and isn’t keen on outside distractions, but Thursday morning when the Hornets face Bibb County that may be a challenge.

Moore graduated from Bibb County in 1988 and was the head coach of the Choctaws from 1997-2005.

Now, Bibb County stands in the way of Moore’s Hornets as they continue what they hope is a march towards their first state championship.

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“I guess part of who I am as a coach I learned in my days as a player and a coach there,” Moore said. “It helped mold me into the coach that I am now.”

Moore said this matchup is different now that he has been gone from the school for so long.

“Now that I’ve been gone almost ten years, it is no different than coaching against any other team for the simple fact that there are no current players that I have coached that are playing on that team now,” Moore said. “There’s not the added emotional pressure of playing against someone you coached.”

There are eight players on the Bibb County roster that are related to Moore, including Danjel Purifoy, who is rated by numerous recruiting sites as one of the nation’s top players for the Class of 2015.

Moore said being related to many Choctaw players does not add any extra pressure for him. Instead, he said he is focused in on what his team will have to do in order to win Thursday’s game and advance.

“We are going to have to play a really good game,” Moore said.

“I’m not so concerned with them beating us as I am with my team doing all the little things we have to do in order to be good enough to beat them.”

If the Hornets do have an advantage, it may be in the experience department. Dallas County is making its sixth straight appearance in a regional game, but the Hornets have never advanced past the regionals.

“Each year is different,” Moore said. “I think [the experience] helps us in the fact that it is a routine thing, but the routine has not really helped us because we have not had the success we want to have.”

On Sunday, the Hornets practiced at Bartow Arena in Birmingham to try to prepare for the floor and environment at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome in Montgomery, site on Thurday’s game.

“We went up there just to get used to the length of the floor and being able to shoot in that wide open [gym] for depth perception purposes,” Moore said.

Moore said last year prior to the Hornets’ Central Regional contest, he dialed it back a bit in practice and his team ended up losing to Dora on a buzzer beater.

This year, practices have been a lot more physical.

“This time around we have been extra physical about everything,” Moore said.